The federal government took Thursday and Friday off to celebrate the holidays. Despite the rare three-day work week, agencies still published 25 proposed regulations, more than 40 final regulations, and an average of more than 500 Federal Register pages per day—much of which consisted of the overdue Unified Agenda, an important transparency document collection compiling upcoming regulations from every agency at various stages of the rulemaking process. If past years are a guide, the Unified Agenda’s holiday timing, precisely geared to when even many of us watchdogs are on vacation, is not a coincidence. CEI scholars will soon have much to say about this repeated transparency failure.
On to the data:
- Last week, 41 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 69 new final rules the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every four hours and 6 minutes.
- So far in 2014, 3,487 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,529 new regulations this year.
- Last week, 1,605 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
- Currently at 77,810 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is on pace for 78,756 pages. This would be the 6th-largest page count since the Federal Register began publication in 1936.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. 44 such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
- The total estimated compliance costs of 2014’s economically significant regulations currently ranges from $6.48 billion to $9.95 billion. They also affect several billion dollars of government spending.
- 281 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
- So far in 2014, 655 new rules affect small businesses; 98 of them are classified as significant.
Highlights from selected final rules published last week:
- The Federal Election Commission decided to remove one of its many restrictions on political speech. Or rather, it was forced to.
- A correction to the EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting program.
- If you cause a train accident that causes less than $10,500 of damage, you don’t have to report it to the federal government.
- The federal government has a Children and Families Administration. It has issued new federal standards “To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment Involving Unaccompanied Children.”
- The FCC issued both another rule and a correction to its recent spectrum auction rule.
- Slight loosening of federal work-hour rules for truck drivers.